IBI 4TH-QUARTER NET FALLS 16.4%
NEW YORK — Citing post-holiday markdowns at its Victoria’s Secret stores, Intimate Brands Inc. late Tuesday reported that its fourth-quarter profits fell 16.4 percent, but were in line with analysts’ lowered expectations.
The Columbus, Ohio-based firm, which is 84 percent owned by specialty apparel retailer Limited Inc., said its net income fell 18.4 percent to $227.5 million, or 46 cents a share, compared with $278.9 million, or 55 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.
The results came as no surprise as the company warned in January that fourth-quarter earnings per share would land at between 44 cents and 48 cents rather than the earlier consensus estimate of 59 cents.
Sales for the quarter rose 5.4 percent to $1.94 billion from $1.84 billion in the year-ago quarter. Sales at its stores open at least one year fell 3 percent for the quarter.
“Obviously the fourth quarter of 2000 was a major disappointment for us,” Leslie H. Wexner, chairman and chief executive, said. “Up until that point, we were well on our way to delivering excellent earnings growth for our investors as we had each year since taking IBI public.”
Wexner said following the holiday selling period that IBI’s new holiday product assortments “were not compelling enough to outperform the strong offerings of a year ago — particularly in an unforgiving economic environment.”
Wexner said the company will continue to focus on enhancing its dominant brand position in its two chief retail stores, Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works.
Given the U.S. economic situation, Wexner said the company is planning for modest profit growth in 2001, adding he expects the first three quarters to be “particularly challenging.”
Shares of Intimate Brands fell on the New York Stock Exchange by 84 cents, down 5 percent to $16.11. The stock is off 33.7 percent since it recorded a 52-week high of $24.31 on Nov. 8. Shares have fallen more than 20 percent over the past year.
Full-year net income dropped 4 percent to $438.4 million, or 88 cents a share, from a year-ago level of $458.9 million, or 90 cents, while earnings per share dropped to 88 cents from 90 cents. Sales improved 10.5 percent to $5.12 billion from $4.63 billion and were head 4 percent on a comparable-store basis.